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Babson Survey Research Group

For the past eight years, the Babson Survey Research Group has conducted surveys of higher education institutions on their attitudes, beliefs, and practices concerning online education. This current report is a new analysis of this collection of data, focusing on the role of online education among private-sector colleges and universities. For the purposes of the report, private-sector institutions are defined as for-profit colleges that are Title IV eligible. Comparative national results are provided for context of the private-sector results. This study, like the national Sloan Survey of Online Education, addresses fundamental questions about the nature and extent of online education. Based on responses from more than 2,500 colleges and universities, the study addresses the following: (1) Is Online Learning Strategic?; (2) Are Learning Outcomes in Online Comparable to Face-to-Face?; (3) What Is the Impact of the Economy on Online Education?; and (4) Proposed Federal Regulations on Financial Aid. Over 60% of private-sector institutions report that online education is critical to their long-term strategies--a rate only slightly below rates at other types of higher education institutions. Since initially measured in 2003 by the Sloan survey, the proportion of chief academic officers reporting learning outcomes for online compared with face-to-face as "the same," "somewhat superior," and "superior" has shown a steady increase. In 2003, 57% reported that online is "at least as good," while 2010 results indicated that two-thirds (67.1% of private sector and 65.8% of all other institution types) now agree. In addition, evidence from the two most recent national Sloan surveys gives credence to the belief that poor economic times may be good for higher education. Institutions across the board reported that poor economic conditions led to increased demand for courses and programs, with the level of increase in demand for online courses and programs exceeding that for face-to-face. [Additional funding for this paper was provided by Pearson Learning Solutions.]

Descriptors: Web Based Instruction, Electronic Learning, Blended Learning, Educational Environment, School Surveys, National Surveys, Comparative Analysis, Economic Impact, Educational Demand, Educational Trends, Private Colleges, Proprietary Schools, Conventional Instruction, Outcomes of Education, Federal Regulation, Strategic Planning, Student Financial Aid

Babson Survey Research Group. Babson College, 231 Forest Street, Babson Park, MA 02457. Tel: 909-278-7389; Web site:

Autor: Seaman, Jeff


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